Unlimited Knife-Edge: Super Cool or Chiropractic Nightmare?

Vertical wing concept by Matt Tanner
Vertical wing concept by Matt Tanner








I came across this article on Gizmag (http://www.gizmag.com/vertical-winged-aircraft/21206/) discussing Stunt Pilot and fellow Coloradan Matt Tanner’s quest to build what he claims to be the world’s first vertically positioned supplemental wings (Matt Tanners’ site here), for the purpose of flying an unlimited knife-edge (flying on the side without losing altitude or turning).  These additional wings are to be attached to the existing (and apparently boring) horizontal wings of his Laser Z300 aircraft.  My first thought was ‘cool’.  But is it?  Of course anything that modifies a cool sport plane to do something cool, should automatically fall into the ‘cool’ category right?  But do two cools equal a super cool, or will it lead to just really bad neck strain for Mr. Tanner?  In this case, I think the idea is novel but I’m not sure how exciting it would be once it’s done.  When I did a lot of R/C, I used to love flying my Extra model on its side as far as I could, so I do see the the merits of unlimited knife-edging.  However, isn’t part of the amazement in making a plane that’s *not* designed to fly on its side – on it’s side?  The Gizmag article cites the option of a knife-edge loop from these wings, but again wouldn’t that be more awesome to see with a Laser that’s not  modified?  Hell, that would be awesome to see with a Cessna.

Kickstarter Attempt Also Goes Sideways

Unfortunately we may never know the answer to this vertical wing question.  Tanner attempted to use the fundraising site Kickstarter to make this little modification possible.  Unfortunately, the campaign wasn’t funded in the allotted time. It had a few backers, but no where near the $50k goal he had set.

Kickstarter screen grab funding results
Kickstarter funding result screen grab

I do think anything new and novel in aviation is worth doing; and this idea seems to fit that test.  I was disappointed not to see comments or updates on the Kickstarter page, so I hope he doesn’t give up, and eventually someone supports the endeavor.  Perhaps corporate sponsorship?  (Looking at you RedBull.)  Keep your chin up Matt, or at least your head sideways.